What to do when you can't

It was a normal evening. Arrived home, fed the cat, started dinner, ate dinner, watched a bit of TV. Ordinary, staid, perhaps even boring.

With a couple of things to do I turned on the PC. I checked my email, skimmed some RSS feeds and pondered what I’d do next. Perhaps a blog post, perhaps I’d see if the writing muse had bothered her pretty little arse to turn up, or maybe I’d push on with my current mini-project (er… noodling about in Photoshop trying to rework the banner graphics a little).

At this point I turned to my current “what can I do that will divert my brain from the fact that I’m still not sure what I want to do” service. You may also know it by its proper name, Twitter.

It was at this point that everything came tumbling down, the lights dimmed, the room vibrated with the tremor and, somewhere, the sound of a helpless baby crying could be heard. Trees were uprooted, cars overturned and lumps of debris were launched into the air, terrorising all as they landed with sickening crunches and thumps.

I had no internet connection.

The eery silence was unsettling at first, punctuated only by the incessant click click clicking of a mouse button and the almost silent cursing of a man who knows some rather choice swear words.

I checked the flashy lights on the modem, the other flashy lights on the wireless router, and I even turned on the strobe light just so I could check another flashy light. After realising that the strobe was just giving me a headache and didn’t, in fact, have any impact on my lack of internet connection (and for the sake of clarity it also has no impact when I do have an internet connection) I turned it off and checked all the cable connections.

Everything LOOKED a-ok so I fired up a web browser to go and check the status page handily provided by my supplier. It’s a great idea, it shows any outages or planned maintenance across all of the services they provide. With a quick click I can check whether I have broadband or not. Brilliant.

What I did do at this point was connect my iPhone to a certain Wifi connection that could, may, possibly, be coming from next door and which is open to the world. Lo and behold the status page showed a red dot (this is a bad thing) next to the word BROADBAND. Next step is to phone and be told, by recorded voice, “if you are in the ML postcode area, you may be experiencing broadband conn…”. I hung up at this point.

And you know what I did then, dear reader?

I read a book. Ain’t NOT having the internet wunnerful??

5 comments

  1. Sometimes I think I’d like my ISP to turn off my broadband connection at 9pm sharp every night and not turn it on again until at least 7am. I’d write more, read more (offline) and probably sleep far better.

    A bit of self-discipline could achieve the same result, of course. Never been particularly good at that, though.

  2. Hg, why not do the same by putting your router/modem on a timeswitch?

    Plug the modem/router’s power plug into the timeswitch that’s set to turn off at 10pm and not turn on again ’til 6am.

    Yes sure, you can go and re-flick the switch – but it’s a useful way of at least letting you know it’s time to knock off…

  3. Heh, well that would come back to the self-discipline thing again. That switch would just be too easy to flick. And on a more technical note, BT’s network management app would probably think that I had an intermittent network problem and thus throttle my IP Profile right down to something insane, like it seems to do every time we have a particularly heavy rain storm.

    I suppose I could buy a more sophisticated router that has time-of-day policies built into it, but of course I’d be the one programming them in. No, the real answer is to be more ruthless about what I’m spending my time on and better recognition of when I’ve gone into aimless “online butterfly” mode. Like now, scanning recently left comments when I have work to do… 🙂

  4. Did you resist the temptation to check every few minutes to see if your Broadband had come back on, though?

  5. I’ve been internetless for over a week now thanks to BT being unable to cope with a customer telling them what the problem is. I’m getting through a lot of books.

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